When I’m asked what’s the one thing I like most about what Bernie Sanders has to say, I find myself tongue-tied. There are so many to choose from. Bernie’s strong stance against the disastrous Citizens United ruling, his declaration that “health care is a right, not a privilege,” and his concern for those struggling with massive student debt are at the top on my list. But perhaps the one over-arching aspect of Bernie’s campaign I appreciate most is that he believes I’m an intelligent voter and treats me with respect.
Bernie declares we all should take an active part in governing our country, and there should be far fewer impediments to voting. Automatic voter registration upon turning 18 should be implemented like it has in many countries. Bernie sees discriminatory practices such as requiring expensive state IDs and closing down neighborhood polling places in poor and minority areas (such as happened in Arizona recently) or purging voter registrations without informing voters (such as happened in New York and Ohio) as unconstitutional. Bernie trusts our judgment and welcomes everyone to participate in the democratic process no matter what their political preference. From my studies into American history, I believe our founders would be very proud of Bernie’s encouragement of voter participation.
Over the last three decades a pall of apathy and hopelessness has fallen over many ordinary Americans. A chorus of “Why should we bother to vote if the super rich buy off our representatives and do as they please?” is often heard. When the Supreme Court passed the Citizens United ruling, it essentially said money equals free speech. Of course, those with the most money get to speak above all others. Ordinary citizens’ voices seem to have lost their effectiveness. How can we compete against the billionaires who want all laws made in their favor? How can we stop these oligarchs from sending our jobs overseas to grow their personal bank accounts at the expense of hard-working Americans?
Enter Bernie Sanders and his call for political reform — our political revolution. Bernie wants us to stop feeling hopeless and become a part of a movement that demands change. We demand our elected representatives do their duty and act responsibly. They are to represent the people — not corporate profits. Crippling trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which allow corporations to take jobs from the U.S. and send them to countries with lower wages and few workers’ protections, aren’t in American workers’ best interests. The TPP even usurps our own country’s sovereignty by allowing corporations to re-write laws they feel cut into their profit margins, even laws that protect the health and safety of their workers and the public. Government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations…This is the dream of the super-wealthy.
We the people do not want to hand over our Constitutional rights to corporations. With Bernie Sanders’ leadership, we are becoming a more informed and savvy electorate. Bernie trusts our intelligence, and he wants us on his team. America will reclaim its birthright — one voter, one vote. Together we’ll create a future to believe in. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people… Bernie Sanders quoting Lincoln’s prophetic words will ring in a re-birth of democracy.
Bio: Cindy A. Matthews is a freelance writer, novelist and editor of The Bernie Blog. http://bernie2016.blogspot.com